Keeping Up With our Code of Ethics

New policies on ethics education will help us enhance REALTOR® image.

March 1, 2000

Now ethics training is for everyone--and that’s the way it should be.

Savvy, successful members of the National Association of REALTORS® have long recognized that the pathway to professionalism in real estate is founded on the Code of Ethics. We’re bound by our strict Code, and adherence to its canons is reflected in how we conduct ourselves and how we’re perceived by our colleagues and by the public.

Enhancing the REALTOR® image is an important concern to many of us. If efforts aimed at improving our profession are to endure, it’s essential that we understand and observe the ethical obligations we voluntarily assume when we become REALTORS®.

Many local associations clearly recognize that and provide comprehensive ethics education for both new and ongoing members. Some associations, including the Denver Board of REALTORS®, have taken matters a step further and now require continuing ethics education as a condition of membership renewal.

Denver’s example will soon be followed nationwide. At the 1999 REALTORS® National Convention, the NAR Board of Directors put new policies into place, effective Jan. 1, 2001, requiring that all new NAR members complete two and a half hours of orientation on the Code and that all REALTORS® complete two and a half hours of ethics training every four years. In enacting the policy, the board was approving recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Group on Code of Ethics Enforcement and the Professional Standards Committee.

Are the new requirements adequate to ensure that every REALTOR® is thoroughly conversant with every article of the Code, the Standards of Practice, and the case interpretations? Of course not, but the requirements are a step—a major step--toward enhanced awareness of and appreciation for our Code.

The new policies come with implementation materials, including both required and suggested learning objectives. The learning objectives alone can serve as the basis for ethics education programs. You can find them, together with suggested course outlines, by searching the minutes of the Professional Standards Committee on One Realtor Place®.

Many local associations will develop and deliver their own training, but the training can also be delivered through methods and avenues that aren’t necessarily local--home study, correspondence courses, Internet-based distance learning, and courses offered by other associations, including state associations. Courses can also be delivered by private providers, as long as the training meets the required learning objectives and minimum criteria established by the NAR Board of Directors.

The concept of mandatory ethics training has been embraced enthusiastically throughout the REALTOR® family. It’s another demonstration of how we, as REALTORS®, are taking positive steps to honor our promise of performance to clients, customers, and the public we serve--and, of course, to one another.

Stephen R. Casper is chairman of NAR's Professional Standards Committee

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